South Carolina Laws on Sex Offenders

By Leonard Dozier

The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website allows users nationwide to obtain information about sex offenders. In addition to Megan's Law, which requires law enforcement officials to notify communities when sex offenders are residents, many states, such as South Carolina, continue to pass laws to further protect citizens against sex offenders. In South Carolina, these new laws were passed in June, 2008. However, previous laws such as the state's registry laws are still the foundational laws of the state.

New Residential Law

South Carolina sex offenders are now prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of schools, day care facilities and playgrounds. Should sex offenders fail to register, the penalty is a 30-day jail sentence. Failure to register a second time can carry up to a one-year jail sentence, while failure to register a third time can carry a maximum jail sentence of five years. In order to protect children from sex offenders and to minimize the potential jeopardy of children, parents should visit South Carolina's online sex offender registry. The registry provides in-depth information on sex offenders and their whereabouts in the state. Secondly, parents should accompany their children at all times. Finally, parents should report to local law enforcement any offenders that violate state laws.

Registry Laws

According to the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry, an "offender" is described as having been convicted of any the following: criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, and third degree; criminal sexual conduct with minors; and engaging a child for sexual performance, incest or voyeurism. The offender must register with the sheriff in the county of residence. Consequently, the sheriff must release information to the public related to the following: criminal sexual conduct in the first and second degree; criminal sexual conduct with minors in the first and second degree; kidnapping, incest and indecent exposure. Users can log onto the registry. Type in name, county, city or zip code to locate a particular sex offender or sex offenders. Contact the sheriff's office in the offender's county should you notice that any information on a sex offender is incorrect.

South Carolina Megan's Law

South Carolina's Law Enforcement Division states that there are over 5,000 registered offenders. In South Carolina, Megan's Law proclaims four immediate rights as it pertains to victims: 1) "the right to respect," 2) "the right to be informed," 3) "the right to be present," and 4) "the right to be heard." Furthermore, section 24 of the law offers to "preserve and protect victims' rights to justice and due process regardless of race, sex, age, religion, or economic status." For more information on the law or sex offenders, residents should contact South Carolina's Law Enforcement Division.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division P.O. Box 21398 Columbia, South Carolina 29221 803-737-9000 sled.sc.gov